With potentially more snow forecast, it’s quite hard to remember all the sunshine we enjoyed during the warmer months… Having said that, blood oranges are in season around now, so who needs sun?! My favourite topic is the weather (not really true), but it does determine the seasons, my mood and the food I cook.
Blood oranges brighten up my day and having that fabulous luxury in the deepest darkest of winters, with their beauty and colour, makes cooking just that little bit easier and, well, prettier to say the least. Their taste is just as magnificent – a sharp citrus flavour with a hint of raspberry. It may all be in my mind as they say, but that is exactly what I taste when I eat a blood orange.
Blood oranges have an unusual red-coloured flesh and they are smaller than standard oranges. The colour of the flesh is due to the presence of anthocyanins, pigments that are usually found in flowers and rarely in fruits, apart from this particular type.
This recipe is a play on traditional jelly, custard and ice cream, with a more sophisticated twist. The custard is the orange posset, the ice cream is the blood orange granita and well, the jelly, that is a deliciously simple blood orange jelly.
Here are a couple of definitions for you. Granita is flavoured water/juice that is frozen and every hour or so during freezing, the ice crystals are stirred to form ice granules rather than one solid lump. The difference between sorbet and granita is that granita contains larger granulated ice crystals, whereas sorbet has a smooth creamier texture (without the cream added).
Posset is boiled cream that is set using fruit juice with a low pH (2.0–3.2) and high acidity level, such as orange juice, and it is refrigerated to a temperature of below 8°C. This mixture will set naturally once boiled and refrigerated without the help of gelatine or other setting agents. However, the mixture will not retain its set state once stirred, and if it comes to room temperature (temperatures over 8°C) the posset may return to a liquid state.
Ingredients & Method
For the Blood Orange Granita
- 75g caster sugar
- 50ml cold water
- 500ml blood orange juice
- 25ml lime juice
For the orange posset
- 600ml double cream
- 150g caster sugar
- finely grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
- finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
For the blood orange jelly
- 250ml blood orange juice
- 50g caster sugar
- 2 leaves of gelatine, bloomed (softened in cold water, then squeezed gently to remove excess water)
For the orange sablé
- 160g unsalted butter, softened
- 80g icing sugar
- finely grated zest of 2 oranges
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon orange juice
- 150g plain flour
- 50g cornflour
- sumac, for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
First make the granita. Put the sugar and water in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring until dissolved, then bring to a simmer and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the blood orange juice and lime juice. Pour the mixture into a shallow, freezer proof container and freeze, stirring with a fork every hour for the first 3 hours. Freeze for about 6–7 hours in total and continue the stirring every hour until the desired large flaky crystals have formed.
While the granita is freezing, make the posset. Put the cream, sugar and orange and lemon zests and juices in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over a low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and pass the mixture through a fine sieve into a shallow container. Cool, then cover and chill in the fridge until set. It should take about 4 hours to set completely.
While the posset is setting, make the jelly. Put the orange juice and sugar in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then bring gently to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the bloomed gelatine, stirring until it has dissolved. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve, then pour into 8–10 individual serving dishes or bowls, dividing it evenly. Leave to cool, then transfer to the fridge and leave to set, about 2–3 hours.
While the jelly is setting, make the sablé. Cream the butter, icing sugar and orange zest together in a bowl until pale and fluffy, then add the egg yolk and orange juice, mixing until combined. Fold in the flour and cornflour, being careful not to overwork the mixture. Transfer the dough to a sheet of cling film, press into a flat square, wrap, then refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas Mark 3 and line 1 or 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
Roll out the sablé dough between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper to about 2mm thickness. Cut the dough into rectangular fingers, each about 8 x 2cm long, then transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking trays and sprinkle with sumac.
Bake in the oven for 8–10 minutes, until just cooked but still pale in colour. Remove from the oven and immediately dust with the caster sugar. Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack and leave to cool completely (see Cook’s Note). Just before serving, sprinkle them with a little extra sumac, if you like.
Serve the jellies with a spoonful of the orange posset on one side and a spoonful of granita on the other. Place a sablé biscuit on top of each one and serve immediately.
Store any leftover sablé biscuits in an airtight container for up to a week. Serve them with other creamy desserts such as mousse, fool or lemon or lime posset.